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Conspiracy Journalism represents a genre of journalism that has elements of advocacy journalism, yellow journalism and investigative journalism. It typically intends to expose or reveal a plan, plot or conspiracy (typically executed by government, corporations or other established organization) towards a group of innocents. Conspiracy journalism usually exists in the lesser known sections of media and may have significant political or religious overtones.

This phrase was used by conspiracist publications, such as Paranoia Magazine, to describe works supporting their various theories. In a review of Shadow Government, the pseudonymed author Joan d Arc described Len Bracken work as "conspiracy journalism"[1] Scholars, such Adam Ellick, have lectured on the topic in regards to national approaches to conspiracy journalism.[2] David Brandt uses this phrase in his Incorrect Political Memoir.[3]

Conspiracy journalism has grown significantly since the proliferation of the internet. It is characterized by dramatic accusations or wrong doing or maliciousness, which lack substantive proof. Conspiracy journalism uses the elements of propaganda to foster interest and gain readers.


Aspects of conspiracy journalism

Conspiracy journalists employ the same tools and techniques of traditional journalism, typically working to maintain a high level of proficiency, adherence to traditional styles and investigative techniques. Frequently, conspiracy jouranlists will assert that their work is ignored by the mass media, sometimes called mainstream media, and / or being suppressed.

Conspiracy journalism has been described as "gossip masquerading as investigative journalism" by Spiked's Brendan O'Neill[4]

In 1998, the Media Research Center (a conservative media watchdog group) identified activities by the Clinton administration of having aspects of conspiracy journalism.[5]. Commentors on independent journalism and discussion boards , such as, frequently invcoke the term "conspiracy journalism" in both favorable and disparaging methods. In July of 2008, an active discussion of "Who if Barbara Bush, Really" referenced conspiracy journalism as a separate class of journalism.[6]

Conspiracy journalism share many features with yellow journalism in that its topics tend to be sensational or promoted as "suppressed". This lends an air of urgency and the forbidden to conspiracy journalism.[citation needed]

Jonathan Yardley, the pulitzer prize winner for criticism, wrote in the Smithsonian Magazine in November 2006[7];

Did The Boys on the Bus contribute to the suspicion and disdain in which the press is now so widely held? Not directly, would be my guess, but certainly indirectly: by describing so accurately and wittily certain truths about the press that its practitioners would just as soon not acknowledge, Crouse may have encouraged others to distort them into untruths. The pack journalism he so carefully delineates can be, and has been, distorted into conspiracy journalism by those who find the press a convenient whipping boy.

In cataloging the various machinations of United States Politics in the 1960s and 1970s, he identified the nature of this form of journalism and its negative impact on media today.

Current examples

Most recently, the growth of the 9/11 Truth movement has been fueled by its own conspiracy journalism. This is the publication and reporting of issues, information , opionion and data related to their specific cause. Thousands of pages of documents, stories and articles have been generated by this organization in its quest to validate its stated position. During the controversey in the 2000 presidential election, main stream media organizations delved into aspects of conspiracy journalism regarding the Florida recount. It was only later that a comprehensive review by the New York Times revealed no conspiracy existed[8].

Immediately following the death of Michael Jackson, a German television station posted a hoax video on the web implying that Jackson's death was faked[9]. The video was immediately picked up by news outlets and the experiment by the German station supported the very nature of conspiracy journalism, which is the advocacy of counter-institutional explanations.

In a recent United Nations presentation, authored by Charles Mangwiro of Radio Mozambique, he identifies the nature of the media in Mozambique as exhibiting a serious problem;[10]

A big problem we have in the Media fraternity is the love of conspiracy journalism, especially in politics, which results in a deficit in investigative journalism.

He pointed out the vulnerability of his nation to

See also


  1. ^ Review of Shadow Government 2002 Web
  2. ^ Lecture, Ellick, Adam B. - May 2004 State University of Islamic Religion, Humanities Faculty (Makassar, Indonesia) "Conspiracy Journalism in Indonesia"
  3. ^
  4. ^ Spiked-Politics "Gossip dressed up as investigative journalism" 26 FEB2006
  5. ^ Weblink: Conspiracy to Commit Journalism MRC, 1998
  6. ^ Weblink: Discussion board, Cached JUL 28, 2008
  7. ^ Magazine, Smithsonian - Yardley, Jonathan - November 2006, Sharp Pencils Shape Elections: How three pioneering reporters reshaped the way the press covers elections-and politics itself
  8. ^ 2001 New York Times Recount Reporting Summary
  9. ^ Website: 01 SEP 09[1]
  10. ^ Mangwiro, Charles Mozambique:The Role of the Media in Energy Sector Development - Web Accessed 13 MAR 10


  • Bratich, Jack Z. Conspiracy panics: political rationality and popular culture. Publisher SUNY Press, 2008 ISBN 0791473333, 9780791473337 Length 229 pages Web Ref Page 77
  • Bracken, Len. Shadow Government. Publisher: Adventures Unlimited Press (October 2002) ISBN 1931882053

External links


Media criticism in general from partisan groups

Journalism in general

Fact-checking in general


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